Seized Drug Money To Pay For New Police Truck

BSB Drug Forfeiture Monies

The Butte-Silver Bow Police Dept is getting a new 2018 Ford F-150, and it isn’t a part of the recent budget battles over police wage increases, nor is it tax-payer funded. The money is coming from the Non-Federal Drug Forfeiture Agency Fund, which is managed by Butte-Silver Bow and, on occasion, allocates money to law enforcement for equipment upgrades and vehicle purchases such as this one. So, drug money, taken by law enforcement officers from drug busts within the county, is funding the purchase of a new drug truck for the Butte police.

Budget and Finance Director Dannette Gleason explains how the fund works.

[Dannette 1]

Sherrif Ed Lester says the courts determine whether or not monies recovered during drug busts will be added to the fund.

[Ed Lester 1]

Figures provided by the office of budget and finance within Butte-Silver Bow show an average of just under $18,000 coming into the account annually since 2014.

This type of forfeiture fund is common among municipal and county governments, and also has a federal equivalent. Figures taken from show that federal asset forfeiture in 2017 yielded more than 8 billion dollars, far more than all larceny, burglary and theft combined nationwide, coming in just over 5 billion dollars in 2017.

Dannette Gleason says that while it’s possible, Butte-Silver Bow hasn’t received much federal asset forfeiture funds in some year.

[Dannette 2]

[Dannette 3]

When asked about the necessity of this new police truck, Sheriff Lester says it will allow them more mobility and convenience when moving evidence or equipment.

[Ed Lester 2]

He says drug crime in Butte not much worse than other parts of Montana.

[Ed Lester 3]

In order for the Butte police to get their new truck, they’ll have to hold a public hearing at the December 19th Council of Commissioners meeting, on account of unanticipated revenues being brought into the budget. The public hearing is the second item on the agenda, and those wishing to comment should arrive in the BSB council chambers at 730 on Wednesday night.

For KBMF, I’m Clark Grant.